Sep 2021

16

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to end on 30th September 2021

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate scheme was introduced to repay employers the current amount of Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees on or after 13th March 2020 for periods of sickness related to Coronavirus. An employer can claim up to 2 weeks of COVID-related statutory sick pay for an employee that was paid, however this will end on 30th September 2021.

Employers will have up to the deadline on 31st December 2021 to reclaim back Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay on this scheme for periods before and up to the end of September 2021. HMRC’s main guidance for claims under this scheme can be accessed here.

The employer must keep records for the statutory sick payments they wish to claim from HMRC such as:

  • National insurance number for each employee being claimed for
  • Start and end dates for the period of sick leave the employee could not work
  • The reason why the employee could not work
  • Details of the qualifying dates in the period the employee could not work

 

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Posted byDebbie ClarkeinCoronavirusPayroll


Jul 2021

30

The Long-Term Impacts of Furlough

Remote and hybrid working has forced us to explore payroll tools that we otherwise may not have considered pre-pandemic. Using BrightPay payroll software along with the add-on product, BrightPay Connect, enables features that cater for the long-term impacts of furlough.

Automatic cloud back-up

Having access to payroll data from any location is so important. It’s even more important to keep that information safe. BrightPay Connect will automatically backup a payroll file every 15 minutes when open and again when the payroll file is closed down. You will never lose your payroll data again as it can be quickly restored if needed.

Multiple users

One of the biggest changes we have seen in the workplace in recent times is the move to hybrid working. Since working from home during lockdowns, employees have been able to create a better work/life balance and hence want to work some days in the office and some days at home. Each BrightPay licence can be installed on up to 10 devices, meaning payroll can be processed on multiple PCs from anywhere.

With BrightPay Connect, both employers and bureaus have the option to add as many users as they wish to a BrightPay Connect licence at no additional cost. You can also restrict access for these users – for example, some users might be able to view payroll data, and distribute HR documents to employees, while another user, say a sales manager, for example, can be set up so that they can approve leave for employees within their department, with no access to payroll data or confidential documents.

HR document upload

With BrightPay Connect, you can upload any type of document or resource that you want to distribute to your employees via a secure online portal that they can access 24/7. Documents such as a company handbook, a contract of employment, the weekly roster, your COVID-19 Response Plan or even a vaccine policy can be uploaded. Having a secure portal where documents are organised all in the one place, makes it easier for employees to find something when they need it, especially when they are out of the office.

No conflicting copies

When there is more than one person working on the same employer file at the same time, it is important that no conflicting copies are created which could result in mistakes in the payroll. This was a challenge at the beginning of the pandemic when people had to start working from home and were unprepared. BrightPay Connect includes a ‘version checking’ feature when opening an employer file, and an ‘other users check’ to prevent the risk of conflicting copies.

Client payroll entry & approval

You no longer need to visit or work from your client’s base to process their payroll. You don’t need to make phone calls or even email your client’s looking for payroll information anymore! BrightPay Connect gives bureaus the ability to send payroll requests to their clients, where they will be able to enter payments, additions and deductions via a secure portal. The approval feature allows bureaus to securely send their clients a payroll summary before the payroll is finalised to ensure 100% accuracy. Save time, resources and even reduce your carbon footprint!

 

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Posted byHolly McHughinCoronavirus


Jul 2021

23

Hybrid Working is the Future

COVID-19 made working from home a necessity overnight, whether we preferred working that way or not. Unfortunately, many businesses had to close their doors as their work duties could not be completed at home. The COVID-19 lockdown was effectively a mass experiment in remote working, and one that many businesses and employees feel was at least a partial success. The world of work may change forever as employees want hybrid working to be the future by working some days from the office and some days from home. If businesses get it right, hybrid working has significant benefits.

Work/life balance

A recent study of 2,000 UK employees revealed that 67% of those working remotely since COVID-19 want to be able to split their time between the physical workplace and home working in the future. Working from home allows employees to spend more time with their partner, family or pets during lunch breaks and time they would have spent commuting. It also allows them to get chores around the house done or time to fully relax.

Employers and payroll processors can also enjoy hybrid working as they don’t need to worry about having to complete payroll tasks in one set location. BrightPay payroll files can be accessed remotely through cloud environments like a shared server, Google Drive or Dropbox. This flexibility will allow users to continue to operate their payroll as normal and can be installed on up to 10 PCs.

Communication

Keeping employees connected by effective communication is key. Employers must continue to provide multi communication channels for employees. It shouldn’t matter whether they are attending a meeting online via Zoom or in person face-to-face, the outcome should be the same.

One of the biggest frustrations for many employees working remotely is not having access to the physical paper-based files they had in the office. BrightPay Connect can help. BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud add-on to BrightPay's payroll desktop application. It offers a HR Document Upload feature which allows managers to share documents with individuals, departments or the whole company at the touch of a button anytime, anywhere. Employees can access it using their smartphone or tablet device.

Regular communication is essential for hybrid working. Without it, employees can feel disconnected, morale can dip, and priorities can become confused. The click rate of a push notification is 7 times higher than that of email, and BrightPay Connect is a great way of communicating with employees when it comes to important updates.

Productivity

It took a global pandemic for a lot of businesses to realise that productivity was not lowered by remote working.

Remote working can increase productivity. The top number of reasons include:

  • Fewer interruptions
  • Less distractions
  • Working in a more comfortable place
  • More time to get work done
  • Better daily routine

Working from the office can also benefit individuals as they are learning from others naturally e.g., overhearing a good sales call and getting tips to improve their own approach or building relationships with colleagues they might not work directly with.

Commute

A recent survey in the UK found that remote workers save the equivalent of 17 days when they don’t have to spend time getting to and from work with an average commute time of 50 minutes. This means less road rage and being late to work if you don’t have to commute every day! Remote working is vital to keeping air pollution to a minimum. Based on findings, working from home could cut 11 billion car miles per year.

BrightPay takes environmental responsibility seriously and is committed to developing our business towards ecological sustainability at both company and individual level. We are extremely excited to be opening our new carbon efficient offices in 2021.

Overall, a work/life balance can increase an individual’s happiness, fulfilment and job satisfaction.

Find out more about BrightPay and BrightPay Connect by booking a free 15-minute online demo.

BrightPay Payroll Demo           BrightPay Connect Demo

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Posted byHolly McHughinCoronavirus


Jul 2021

12

Furlough Claims - Key dates you need to know

Employers need to make a claim for their grant for their furloughed workers through HMRC's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme online service. This is where employers can claim for some of their employee’s wages if they have put them on furlough or flexible furlough because of COVID-19.

Furlough claims must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend, in which case the deadline is the next weekday. The next deadline for claims relating to June 2021 will be 14th July 2021. Employers can make claims before, during or after the payroll is run.

Employers can only make one claim per claim period, so you must include all furloughed and flexibly furloughed employees in the one claim, even if you pay them at different times. When claiming for employees on flexible furlough, employers will need to report hours worked along with the worker's usual hours in a claim period. Therefore, it is best to make a claim once you’re sure of the exact number of hours your employees will work so that you don’t have to amend your claim at a later date.

It’s important to note however that if the pay period crosses two calendar months, two separate claims are required to reclaim the furlough pay, for example, a claim in June would be needed to cover the dates falling in June and a claim in July will be needed for the dates falling in July.

Employers need to make a claim through HMRC’s online claim portal to avail of the scheme. BrightPay payroll software includes a CJRS Claim Report which can be used to ascertain the amounts needed for input into HMRC’s online service.

Find out more about how BrightPay caters for COVID-19 functionality by booking a free online product demo. BrightPay’s overall response to COVID-19 was rated 99.1% in a recent customer survey from May 2021, and this included payroll upgrades, webinars, online guidance and customer support.

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Posted byHolly McHughinCoronavirus


Jul 2021

8

Employer contribution to furlough – what happens if their pay has changed?

Although lockdown restrictions are continuing to ease, many businesses are still dependant on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for paying their employees. The latest HMRC figures show that 2.4 million people still relied on the furlough scheme for their income at the end of May 2021. Although numbers continued to fall in June, it is estimated that there are now between 1.3 million and 1.9 million people on the scheme.

New rules since 1st July mean that employers are now required to pay 10% of their employees' wages to make up 80% of their pay (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month), with the government contribution now reduced to 70% of the employee’s wages.

But now that employers have the added expense of contributing to wage costs, they are looking for more clarity on how their employees' wages are calculated for the purposes of furlough.

Calculating Employee’s Furlough Pay

There are different calculations to consider when calculating your employee’s usual wages for furlough, depending on whether they work fixed or variable hours:

  • Employees on fixed hours - You must work out 80% of the employee's usual wage by looking at the wages payable to your employee in the past pay period ending on or before the employee’s reference date.

  • Employees on variable hours - How you work out the usual wages for employees with variable hours also depends on their reference date. You must also take the lookback period into consideration.

Click here to find out more about furlough reference period rules.

Calculating furlough when their pay has changed

Regardless of what the employee’s pay is now, you must still use the wages payable in the relevant reference period when calculating their furlough pay. The majority of employees have a 19th March 2020 reference date, i.e. those who were eligible for furlough under the original scheme, regardless of whether or not they were actually placed on furlough at that time.

For employees who are paid minimum wage, there have been two increases to the National Minimum Wage rate since 19th March 2020. While employees must be paid the new rate for hours worked (or doing work-related training), the furlough pay is still calculated on the wages payable in the reference period, even if this means that their hourly rate will fall below minimum wage.

Read: Minimum Wage Increases and Furlough: What Happens Now?

Regardless of the National Minimum Wage, where employees pay has increased (for example if they got a promotion or an annual wage increase), the wages payable at the reference period must still be used when calculating the 80% of wages.

On the other hand, where an employees pay has been reduced, for example if there has been a slowdown in business and the employee is now working fewer hours, again the reference period must still be used. Therefore, in this scenario, the employee’s furlough pay may, in fact, work out much higher than the wages they would be earning if they weren’t on furlough.

Furlough Calculations Made Easy

BrightPay provides functionality to calculate and apply furlough pay to an employee's payslip, and this includes support for flexible furlough. By entering in the employee’s usual hours worked and the actual hours worked into BrightPay, the software will automatically calculate the pro-rated subsidy. For more information, you can also view HMRC’s help guidance for examples of how to work out 80% of your employee’s usual wage.

Free Furlough Webinar

Join BrightPay for a free webinar on 28th July where their team of payroll and HR experts discuss recent changes to the furlough scheme and the challenge of reference periods. There will also be a live Q&A session to answer any questions that you may have.

Limited Places Remaining – Click here to reserve your place.



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Posted byRachel HynesinCoronavirusPayroll SoftwareWages


May 2021

14

Free webinar: Leaving lockdown

Remote Payroll

Finally, the country is beginning to reopen and there is an end of COVID-19 in sight! BrightPay are hosting a free online webinar where our team of experts discuss the recent changes to the furlough scheme including the extension of the scheme until 30th September 2021.

Join our upcoming webinar on 18th May at 10.30 am BST and learn:

  • Changes to scheme eligibility
  • The wind-down of subsidy rates
  • The challenge of reference periods
  • The dos and don’ts of furlough agreements
  • How BrightPay caters for furlough pay
  • COVID-19 & Redundancies
  • Vaccine Policy – Do You Need One?
  • Managing the annual leave backlog

 

Don’t miss out – book your free seat here

 

Free eBook

Download a free copy of our latest eBook: Top tips for managing employees as lockdown ends (and what you should avoid). We discuss the need for a Vaccine Policy and other challenges that employers and HR managers will face over the coming months as the country re-opens and employees start requesting annual leave.

 Free Webinar | Free eBook

 

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Posted byHolly McHughinCoronavirus


Mar 2021

19

The Key to Keeping in Touch with Employees while Working from Home

One of the biggest frustrations for many employees who now work from home is not having access to the physical paper-based files they had in the office. Many organisations still rely on a HR cabinet which stores sensitive employee data such as contracts of employment, annual leave requests and appraisal documents. Due to COVID-19, the new remote working culture has created many new challenges, data security being a significant one. How secure is your filing cabinet, particularly when you aren’t in the office?

Without the added challenge of a pandemic, HR productivity and managing HR workflows are everyday issues. Common tasks such as the managing of annual leave requests/cancelling requests or dealing with employee queries such as, ‘‘Can I have a copy of my last 3 payslips?’’ can take up unnecessary amounts of time.

BrightPay Connect can help. BrightPay Connect is an optional cloud add-on to BrightPay's payroll desktop application that offers employers flexibility and online benefits, making the payroll process easier.

Along with many other features, BrightPay Connect offers a HR Document Upload feature which allows managers to share documents with individuals, teams or the whole company at the touch of a button. Distribute the company handbook to all employees or upload an individual’s contract of employment, performance reviews or training material. The document upload feature ensures company documents are organised and that employees can securely access HR information anytime, anywhere using their smartphone or tablet device.

Regular communication is an essential way to help your teams adjust to home working. Without it your employees can feel disconnected, morale can dip, and priorities can become confused.

BrightPay Connect’s HR Document Upload tool can be used to distribute COVID-19 mandatory documents such as a COVID-19 Safe Working Policy, the company newsletter or details of the Return-to-Work Policy. The notification system will stand out and draw employees to read the communications via an employee app, avoiding it becoming lost in their email inbox.

Sending this important information directly to the employee’s phone is so much more powerful than simply sending a company-wide email. The click rate of a push notification is 7 times higher than that of email, and so it’s a great way of communicating with employees when it comes to important updates.

Things can – and should – be much simpler in your HR department. And with BrightPay Connect, that’s the new reality. Book a demo of BrightPay Connect today and see how you can eliminate time-consuming HR tasks.

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Posted byHolly McHughinCoronavirus


Jan 2021

6

New financial support announced for businesses to survive lockdown

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m Bill Murray in Groundhog Day - stuck in an endless purgatory of the same day repeating itself over and over again with no escape. Yes it’s another day, another lockdown and it feels never-ending. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (in which case, is there room for one more?) you’ll know that England is now in a strict national lockdown until mid-February. That means that all non-essential business, schools and universities need to close and we all have to stay at home.

What does this mean for businesses and employees now who are once again affected by this absolute fiasco? Well, it seems it’s business as usual if you will pardon the pun, as not much has changed. However, Rishi Sunk did unveil “more financial support” for businesses affected by the lockdown measures yesterday morning (note my use of inverted commas). Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will now be able to apply for one-off grants of up to £9,000 per property.
On top of these one-off £9k grants, a further £594m discretionary fund will be made available via local authorities and devolved administrations to support other businesses outside of these sectors who have also been affected by the lockdown.

There are already existing support packages in place though. These include grants of up to £3,000 for closed businesses, 100% business rates relief for hospitality, leisure and retail, and of course, everyone’s good ol’ pal furlough. While Rishi has been very quiet on further furlough support, the current scheme is due to run until the end of April as it is so this seems the government are still optimistic that we will be out of the woods by then with the rollout of the mass vaccination programme. Remember, you can apply for furlough at any time, even if you have never claimed under the scheme before.

Along with furlough, other notable absentees from Rishi’s measures included extending the business rates holiday (which ends in April), VAT cut, or an increase in statutory sick pay, despite calls from business leaders for such moves. Even with the new £4.6bn support package, is it enough?

With Englands’s lockdown due to be reviewed on February 15th and Scotland’s at the end of January we now enter another period of stasis. We can only hope that this really is the last time we have to endure this and hope that all the hard work that has gone into keeping businesses afloat and employees on the payroll over the past 10 months has not been in vain. Stay tuned for more updates over the coming weeks. And with that, I’m off to bake my seventy-sixth loaf of banana bread and have a cry into the tea towel.

 

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinCoronavirus


Dec 2020

4

BrightPay win COVID Hero Award

I’ve been called a hero a couple of times in my life. There was that time at uni when I whipped out a bottle of Apple Sourz at an afterparty. Or there was the time when I saved a baby bird from being eaten by my dog. But none of these times hold a candle to how good it feels to be part of the team at BrightPay Payroll Software who have won the COVID Hero Supplier Award at the Accounting Software Excellence Awards 2020.

Sure, it would have been great to do a clean sweep and win all the awards going, (we were nominated for 3 in total) but this one has a special place in our hearts as we have put so much into making sure our customers have felt supported during what has surely been one of the toughest periods of time in living memory. So to be not only recognised for our efforts but awarded for them, well - let’s just say *gulp* sorry I just need a moment I have something in my eye.

There were a number of criteria that were considered by the panel for this award. Judging took into account the speed, time and relevance of businesses’ COVID-19 response and how many customers accessed it. They were looking for businesses that really went the extra mile and thought outside the box to make their customers feel supported, whilst also managing to reflect their brand values.

As BrightPay’s core brand value is to provide outstanding payroll software with amazing customer support at affordable pricing, the fact that we managed to maintain this during the pandemic and up our ante to match the ever-changing needs of our clients AND be awarded for it is very special indeed.

Speaking at the Accounting Excellence Awards, host extraordinaire Mike Goldsmith said “the judges saw that BrightPay went above and beyond to support their clientbase and payroll professionals at a time when they were under pressure with furlough claims and interpreting guidance. BrightPay did this through a coordinated strategy that went beyond product enhancement. Their success in this was evidenced by high customer satisfaction and impressive reach with their support material.”. Brb, off to print this off on t-shirts for all the staff.

So thank you to all our customers as, without you, we really would be nothing! This will be an extra reason to celebrate at our virtual Christmas party this weekend (any excuse for an extra glass of bubbly!).

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Why are BrightPay the perfect payroll partner during challenging times?

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinAwardsCoronavirus


Nov 2020

2

Why are BrightPay the perfect payroll partner during challenging times?

Businesses are continuing to be massively impacted by COVID-19, and for many, their payroll solution may not be up to the challenge. At BrightPay, we believe that our COVID-19 response plan means that we are the perfect payroll partner to help you adapt to an ever-changing world.

How to find the right payroll partner for your business

Making simple changes and investing in payroll solutions with integrated cloud access can save money, improve productivity and increase profits. It is important to choose the right payroll software provider that will ensure COVID-19 does not slow down your bureau’s payroll processing.

Research different payroll software providers and compare them against what you are currently using. Choose the right payroll technology that not only streamlines your payroll processes but supports your business continuity needs.

Ask other providers what their customer satisfaction rating is, what are the hidden costs and how they are helping their customers through COVID-19.

How BrightPay are helping with payroll performance during unprecedented challenges

  • Support payroll remote working: BrightPay customers can process their payroll from 10 different locations.
  • Help you achieve business continuity: BrightPay Connect, the optional cloud add-on, will automatically backup your payroll data every 15 minutes, enabling you to restore your data should the unforeseen happen.
  • Competitively priced payroll software: BrightPay includes unlimited employees, no additional charge for auto enrolment, CIS or customer support.
  • Quality and speed of COVID-19 updates: In a recent survey, BrightPay achieved 98.6% rating for our overall handling of COVID-19 including customer support, payroll upgrades, COVID-19 webinars and online support.
  • Automation of scheme calculations: We have released 15 software upgrades across three payroll products to assist users with calculations and make it easier for the user when making a claim via HMRC.
  • No disruption to our customer support service: We transitioned 95% of staff to working remotely before the lockdown announcement in March 2020.
  • Loyal customers say it all: In a recent survey, 97% of our customers said that they would renew with us next year and gave us an enviable Net Promoter Score of 69.3 for customer satisfaction.
  • Management of mandatory COVID-19 employee documents: BrightPay Connect enables users to upload contracts of employment and COVID-19 HR documents and gives the employer or manager visibility as to when the employee views the document.
  • Increased employee numbers by 40%: ensuring that we could help our customers with the new payroll demands (March to October 2020).
  • Automation of your bureau’s payroll workflows: Using BrightPay Connect, you can not only give your client’s employees access to their own self-service payroll portal, but you can also give your clients access to their own employer dashboard.
  • Streamlining of employee payroll and HR admin: BrightPay Connect gives your employees the ability to self-service, allowing them to browse and download historic payslips, request annual leave, view leave remaining and update their personal details.
  • We’re prepared to put in the hours: An additional 122 hours of customer support overtime resulted in 97% of support emails being responded to within 24 hours.
  • Excellent communication and education: The BrightPay COVID-19 help guides have been viewed over 136,600 times and the COVID-19 Resources Hub has been viewed over 32,000 times.
  • We expertly answer your questions: We have hosted over 30 COVID-19 payroll webinars with live Q&A sessions joined by payroll experts and key government bodies (over 26,000 attendees and 15,500 views on-demand).
  • Regular legislation updates: To date we have published 265 blogs detailing COVID-19 payroll legislative changes, with 540,125 users accessing our website, a 57% increase compared to last year.

What BrightPay customers have to say…

''Complex CJRS claims, 4 weekly pay periods crossing into July, the beginning of flexible furloughing. We could be in the middle of a logistical nightmare, but thanks to @BrightPayUK our lives have been made considerably easier.’’ Lucy Stupples @autumn_ cottage – Twitter

‘‘BrightPay have made it easy for us during this difficult time. They have kept us up to date on their information hub on all matter COVID-19 related, with free webinars on CJRS matters and other resources.’’ Linda Nicholls – Trustpilot

''We have worked around the clock since COVID disrupted life as we know it to support our clients. However, it would have been a lot harder to provide that support if we didn’t use BrightPay. Well done team @ BrightPayUK.Investment Bookkeeping @InBookkeeping – Twitter

Download the guide now: ‘Safeguard your payroll against COVID-19 and the (hidden) cons of the Job Support Scheme’ 

 

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Blog: The Results of our Customer Survey are in, and we want to say Thank You!

Posted byZoe ColverinCoronavirusPayrollPayroll Software